Auto-install Scripts: Comparing Fantastico and Softaculous

One of the best things about using website hosting control panels like cPanel, Plesk, or DirectAdmin, are the script libraries that you can use alongside them. These auto-installers use their commercial script bundles to perform their eponymous function-they enable one-click automatic installation of dozens upon dozens of web applications, from ever-popular WordPress to content management system Joomla. Not only does this save time by allowing users to avoid download source codes for necessary software, and running virus and update maintenance on that software, but these easy installation options also allow control panels to truly become centralized tools for web hosting and management. Hosting sites will offer web hosting plans that include these auto-installers as modules to create platforms to help enact scripts and programs. The two top systems Fantastico-De-Luxe and Softaculous have long been pitted against each other. While comparison and rivalry between the two systems has not reached iOS versus Android levels, it’s still worth it to sit down and consider which script library might be a better fit for your control panel software.

Fantastico

"Install CMS, blogs, galleries on your website with the help of Fantastico"

“Install CMS, blogs, galleries on your website with the help of Fantastico”


Fantastico is the most widely used auto-installer, and mostly utilizes open source software scripts, with just a couple scripts for proprietary software. Early versions of the auto-installer were exclusively compatible with cPanel, one of the factors that led it to become something of an industry standard, and contributing to it widespread popularity. Despite this, Fantastico began to fall out of favor with the web community in the new millenium thanks to a limited number of scripts, a lack of updates, and unstable updates related to security and bugs not always compatible with the web applications they were intended to be used for.

Nevertheless, Fantastico is still a notable auto-installer, and its latest F3 version is much improved, with instant updates as provided from the script developer rather than Fantastico creator Netenberg. The script library now also hosts over 600 scripts, and is compatible with cPanel alternatives. A single license goes for $90, a VPS license $45, and lasts a year, with regular updates and free support, one license per server. These licenses are subject to renewal fees, which are priced at $30 for single licenses and $25 for VPS licenses.

Softaculous

"Fast and easy-to-use auto-installer"

“Fast and easy-to-use auto-installer”


Some of Softaculous’ winning features include backup and restoration of websites hosted and/or in progress through Softaculous, beginner-friendly UI, the ability to demo scripts before installation, and excellent tech support and community forums. As a bonus, installation settings can be edited through the user interface, and updates from content management systems can be set to run and install automatically. Users also report higher functionality, in which advanced features of the management systems are often also available through Softaculous. A ratings and review system for the scripts offered is also available to help users sift through their options.

From a buyer’s perspective, Softaculous is a more flexible option. Licenses for dedicated servers and VPS are both available, with prices segmented per month, per year. Lifetime and free licenses are also offered, with no renewal fee required for the former. The free license is also a great option for the penny pincher, retaining similar benefits to other license packages-free support from the forums, upgrades to the software, and upgrades to the script. A free license includes 59 out of the 347 total scripts. A lifetime license for VPS can go for $75, $150 for dedicated servers, but the monthly rate is couched at $1.50 and $2.50 a month, respectively.

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